What The Sheriff Saw: A Story About Yours Truly Doing Her Gardening Chores

I want to tell you what happened. I didn’t quite understand what really happened as it happened and it was only after Zen-Den gently walked me to an epiphany that I got what happened.

• • •

• • •

THE OTHER MORNING AROUND 9:00 a.m. I decided to water the planters that are on the stoop in front of the house by the front door. I do this using an old Rubbermaid aqua-colored 2 1/4 quarts plastic pitcher whose white lid I lost decades ago.

As I was watering these planters I looked over in the bushes to where we have a medium-sized concrete urn that holds a spike plant. Because it’s been more dry around here than usual the poor spike looked droopy, so I got more water in my repurposed pitcher, now watering can, and stepped into our bushes in front of the windows in front of the house to water the thirsty plant.

I probably should add at this point that I was wearing Stewart plaid flannel jammies, a bright pink fleece jacket, dark teal suede house slippers, and had my curly mess of graying blonde hair pulled up, with a neon orange elastic band, into an off-kilter pineapple-style ponytail on top of my head.

Oh, and I was wearing dark glasses because it was sunny outside.

• • •

THERE’S BEEN A CHIPMUNK hanging around the front of the house all summer and as I was watering the spike I saw it scurry by me on its way to the other side of the front of the house. I do not like the damage that chipmunks can cause so I stopped watering and glared at the little rodent to see where it was going.

And, of course, I yelled a few random death threats at it.

As one does.

Suddenly I had a strange feeling and realized I was not alone. That out on the street in a large black SUV someone was watching me as I stood there.

And who was this person watching me? A sheriff who had happened to notice me as he was driving by. He’d rolled down his passenger side window to get a closer look at me and when I saw him, he waved.

I smiled and waved back while holding up my repurposed pitcher, then started pouring water into the concrete urn to show him I belonged where I was. I wasn’t a burglar hiding in the bushes, I was just the lady of the house doing a chore.

He smiled back, nodded his head, rolled up the window, and went on his way.

• • •

LATER THAT NIGHT I told Z-D what had happened and how funny I thought it was that a sheriff thought I was a miscreant attempting to break into our house.

As if.

Zen-Den listened to my story and conclusion, then quietly suggested that what the sheriff thought he saw probably didn’t register with him as a burglary in progress.

Instead from the sheriff’s perspective what he saw was an addlepated gray-haired senior citizen, perhaps suffering from dementia and jibber-jabbering to herself, wandering around in the bushes in her nightclothes, seemingly confused, while carrying a random kitchen item with her.

And darn it to heck, Zen-Den is right. That’s exactly what the sheriff saw.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

147 thoughts on “What The Sheriff Saw: A Story About Yours Truly Doing Her Gardening Chores”

  1. You know, I have an identical pitcher that I also use for watering! 😂 I got it second-hand years ago. I also yell at my chipmunks. But no grey hairs here yet… At least not many.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mei-Mei, great gardening minds think alike! I’m charmed to know we have the same pitcher/watering can. The thing about chipmunks is that while they’re cute, they’re so sneaky about where they live. Naturally I had to watch them and yell at them. It’d be wrong not to. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a funny story, more so because I often think as I age I need to start getting dressed first thing in the mornings before doing things like watering plants and the patio. You can get away with that when you’re young, even go shopping in your P.J.s in your 30s but let a senior citizen do it and the perception is entirely different.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jean, you’re right. It is all about perceptions. That’s exactly what happened to me here. Up-close I don’t look too old [in my opinion], but from a distance I can see how I appeared to be closer to ancient than young. This does not make me happy to be perceived this way, but I can understand how it happened. 🙄

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    1. Dan, you’re right that it is encouraging to know that the local sheriffs are observant. I wouldn’t put it past the chipmunks to try to get me arrested. I threaten them often. 😒

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  3. Funniest story I’ve heard in some time Ally Bean! I’d keep an eye out for random SUV type vehicles cruising the neighborhood. You may have been assigned to the occasional “welfare check” division of the department after that display you gave the sheriff 😉

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    1. Deb, thank you. I didn’t catch onto what was going on with that sheriff until Zen-Den clued me in. I don’t think of myself as old or in need of supervision. But thinking back on how wacko I looked and behaved, *yeah* I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that I’m on some kind of “welfare check” list now. Ain’t life a pip?

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Rivergirl, I imagine you’re right. Trying to explain myself would have made me seem crazier than I already looked. And no doubt given the chance that chipmunk would press charges against me for threatening it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, I imagine you’re right. He had a story to tell that involved no violence and verged on the suburban idyllic. Still, how’d I get myself into this one?

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  4. Good reminder Ally, that while I still feel 19 on the inside, I do not look anywhere near it on the outside…and some of my behaviours might be interpreted differently as a result. Funny and free-spirited starts looking like weird and onset of dementia as we age. Pity. Not that it will stop me, but I’ll try to be more discreet. 😜

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Deb, yes, you’ve said it here. I didn’t think a thing about going out in front of the house to do a fast gardening chore, but I can see [now] how what I was doing looked nutty. Not like a burglar, but like a lost old soul… potentially in need of help. [I am not liking this realization, btw.]

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ms Bean, I never think of you as anything other than a style icon, Indeed I will not accept that you looked anything other than a style doyenne while doing your early morning chores, no wonder you turned that Sheriff’s head 😀

    I’m going to a breakfast networking event tomorrow so have been rummaging through the wardrobe to select a suitable outfit. Wardrobes were easier when they involved business suits or leisure wear, now I have to tread that tricky path of smart casual in order to appear professional but not intimidating. Let’s hope I don’t end up with my skirt tucked into my undergarments in the early morning rush eh?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. deb, thank you for your kind words and support regarding my sartorial choice whilst watering the plants. Might have been a not wise decision, I say in retrospect.

      I don’t envy you deciding what to wear tomorrow for your networking event. Smart casual + professional while not looking too professional is one slippery slope. I’m sure that you’ll find the right outfit, but do agree that you should attempt to not tuck your skirt into your undergarments. It might detract from the message you’re trying to send.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Life Coach can’t manage to dress properly is not the best of marketing messages for sure …
    I may have to leave ingesting copious amounts of coffee till after to avoid rushed visits to the ladies.

    I’m looking for new PJs – tartan a good choice you think?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, as a life coach you might want to look like you have a clue about, you know, life, liberty, and the pursuit of image.

      I love flannel jammies and will buy them with or without tartans. As long as they’re 100% cotton I’m a happy snoozer.

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  7. Well, at least it’s now happened and will never ever happen again eh Ally Bean? Next time don’t forget the lipstick. Thanks for the laugh – I can just imagine. I bumped into the sweetest person today who I’m seeing for coffee next week, but TODAY I was looking a fright …

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    1. Susan, oh it won’t happen again. I’ll be more cognizant of what I wear when I step out our front door. I was just so into watering the poor plants that I didn’t think about what I looked like, but I can understand how to a young sheriff guy I looked like a crazy relic wandering around. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my. If the sheriff saw either my husband or I wandering around the backyard I’m sure we’d be on their old foggies-to-keep-an-eye-on list. My husband has a water pistol he likes to scare the turkeys off with.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jan, you made me laugh with that image. I was only wielding a plastic pitcher, but a water pistol would be a whole different thing. On the one hand I’m pleased that the sheriff noticed something unusual going on, but I’m not pleased about being the something unusual.

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  9. Or maybe it was all about the chipmunk (hang in with me for a minute! You may like one of these interpretations better…). Perhaps:
    (1) The sheriff is fond of chipmunks’ chirps, that’s why he stopped, had to roll down his window to hear them better and left when the “music” stopped?
    (2) The sheriff saw snakes slithering over to make a meal out of the chipmunk and rolled down the window to get a better look, but saw it was just wind rustling the leaves and left?
    (3) The sheriff was trying to take a photo of the chipmunk, that’s why he rolled down the window, but it disappeared before he could thanks to your effective curses and that’s why the sheriff rolled up the window, disappointed, and left?
    (4) The sheriff despises chipmunks just like you do, rolled down his window to curse it, but heard/saw your energetic cursing were doing the trick and so he waved in appreciation and left?
    I could go on all day… I think we should go with “it had nothing to do with the eclectic ensemble”! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Endless Weekend, I like how you think! Yes I’m sure any of your delightfully unique theories explain why what happened happened. What I was wearing and where I was standing had nothing to do with the sheriff who focuses on chipmunks wherever he goes. He’s probably a lifelong fan of Alvin, Theordore, and Simon! No doubt you’ve figured this out.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Judy, I’ve never heard of such a thing and hope that I’m not now on Silver Alert list. I was minding my own business and plants, but doing so while wearing a questionable ensemble which isn’t against any law I know of. Honestly, I’ll be more careful whenever I step out of the house again. Lesson [humorously] learned.

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  10. Now, do you think the chipmunk called the cops?

    You buried the lede… that outfit. I don’t need a picture. I can see it so clearly. 🙂

    My inner child with white streaks in her hair honors your inner child with graying blonde hair. Namaste, not-so-future old person compatriot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tara, it was only in the conversation with Z-D that I began to realize how ridiculous my outfit must have looked. Yep, I was screaming wack-a-doodle and was clueless about it. Somehow Z-D knew this before I did. Go figure, huh?

      And namaste right back to you. Our inner children are without a doubt on the same path to enlightenment.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes. We often don’t register what we look like when we toss on the nearest outdoor apparel (husband’s car coat), the nearest shoes (garden clogs), and a hat because it was raining this morning (straw garden hat), because we had to take the dog out at dawn….hmm, just for a couple of minutes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dorothy, your outfit makes perfect sense to me because it was all just there waiting for you, right? That’s what happened to me. I didn’t plan to dress like I did because I only was concerned about quickly watering the plants. Yelling at the chipmunks just happened, but I’m sure I did look nutty to that young sheriff.

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  12. LOL great story Ally. We have one of those pitchers but we still have the white top so it is used as a pitcher, although we have also used it to add water to the Christmas tree stand. I think it is comforting to know that the sheriffs in your neck of the woods are so observant and watchful of the neighborhood. Since he may not have seen the squirrel, maybe he thought you were yelling your threats at Z-D and wanted to make sure he was okay 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, I don’t know what happened to the lid on our pitcher, but it makes a good watering can without it. I use it outside all the time. I agree that it is nice to know that our sheriffs are observant– even when you wonder what they’re seeing when they look at you. Honestly, talk about getting yourself into a ridiculous situation… 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I remember one time you were lamenting in a post that you are wordy – you are, but don’t lose it! It’s a style some people like me, who can only can write business-like, like to read:):) Hope you survived the trauma over what (you think) the sheriff must have seen. At least, he didn’t write you out a ticket!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Junieper2, I do sometimes wonder if I am too wordy here, so thanks for your encouragement. I can do a business document if I have to, but this style of chatty wordiness comes naturally to me. Good point about not getting anything more than a wave from the sheriff. I can deal with that, dignity intact.

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  14. So funny the sheriff felt the need to roll down his window to check out the goings on in the neighborhood. Cheeky little bugger. Oh wait, no, that was the chipmunk!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lynn, made me smile with that one. It was an odd experience to suddenly realize a sheriff was watching me and then to later realize why he was watching me. Guess it’s a safe neighborhood here, but I don’t think I need any more attention from the authorities.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. and for a moment I wondered if he was “interested in you”
        might not be the case – but that happened to my mom and I – we were walking across the street to a second store – and she is blonde – well this car did a fast u-turn = pulled up – and then when he saw we were both old – she much older – his eyes bulged and he had small talk And left.
        maybe not the case here – but I did wonder –
        and omg – the outfit you described was the best – I can relate

        Liked by 1 person

          1. yes – you never know….
            and hope you have a great week ahead Ally Bean (I am moving into a blog pause and dang! it sure if hard – I think the best way might be to take a break by going cold turkey)

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  15. I’m sorry. I really am. But I’m laughing. Out loud. That poor sheriff, doing his civic duty and probably scared to death that he’s got a bit of a, um, predicament to take care of.
    P.S. I bet the chipmunk was laughing his head off too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. pam, feel free to laugh. I imagine you’re right about the sheriff and what he was worried about when he saw me in the bushes. Thanks to Z-D I realize now why he stopped to look at me, but in the moment I was more irritated with the chipmunk than I was with what the sheriff was thinking about me.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Holy cow, that was funny! I can’t tell you how many times I walk out of the house to water our porch plants or get the paper and have to stop myself on the steps to check and make sure I have all the proper things – like pants – on. So far, so good.

    Your… ummmm…. whimsical get-up and chipmunk cursing must have made a good story for the cop once he returned to the station.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janis, you do the same thing as I do. I just duck out onto the stoop to water the plants, never thinking about what I’m wearing. I imagine you’re right about the story this young sheriff guy had to tell about me, the nutty older woman dressed like who knows what. Henceforth I’ll be careful about my clothing choices, try to match things even.

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  17. Oh my gosh, Ally! I’m so glad the sheriff is not likely to drive by my house – how often am I outdoors in plaid jammies yelling at destructive pestilential wildlife? All the damn time!! 😂😁

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    1. Eilene, you are a woman after my own heart. If you lived around here I’d caution you to be careful about what you wear while yelling at rodents in your front yard, but I suspect that where you live you’ll have no problem. Still, goofy as this story is, it’s made for a good blog post, so there’s that.

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  18. I can’t stop laughing😅 This has got to be one of the funniest things I’ve read from you! I kept trying to read it to T, and was laughing so hard, he had a hard time understanding what I was saying. I just kept envisioning your wardrobe and the colors. I’m sure the sheriff passed his observation of you on to his co workers! Thanks for making me laugh at the end of a very trying day😁

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    1. Beth, I looked ridiculous but I wasn’t thinking about my clothes when I stepped outside to water the plants. Obviously. I suppose if I hadn’t yelled death threats at the chipmunk the sheriff might not have thought I was suffering from dementia, but I despise that rodent. Anyhow, glad this gave you a laugh and put a chuckle into your lousy day. Say “hey” to T for me.

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    1. nancy, good choice for music to accompany this post. Well done. I’m glad the sheriff smiled and waved, too. I wasn’t doing anything illegal, I was just being me… oddly. In the bushes.

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  19. This made me laugh out loud so hard!!! I love the description of the outfit. And the story in general! Haha! Also, side note, how is it we lose the lids to things? Where do they go??!

    I have a friend who was cleaning out a drainage ditch for the neighborhood…he had a shovel and other tools. he also happened to be wearing old jeans with fake blood on em from Halloween. A woman jogging by, called the police thinking he was up to something nefarious! It took him a minute to realize what was happening! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pam, happy to know this made you laugh. I had a good chuckle about it once I got what had really happened and stopped snarling about being perceived as old. Hat tip to Z-D on that.

      That’s a funny story. I can understand how what happened there happened. I wonder how often the cops are called out on something like that? Nothing nefarious, but it looked nefarious. Especially with fake blood. 😳

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  20. I was with all the way until the end when I made that pivot to Zen-Den. Damn if he probably wasn’t right about that. Well, as Kate points out, now he’ll probably check your house more often to make sure everything is copacetic. 🙂 – Marty

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    1. Marty, I imagine Zen-Den is right about what the *young* sheriff guy thought he saw going on with me, the *older* woman in the bushes. Honestly Z-D’s interpretation never entered my [addled?] brain until Z-D pointed it out to me. This aging thing is tricky to comprehend. 😐

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  21. 😀 😁 I have to laugh, because I would have done the same thing. I have a squirrel nemesis. Sixty percent of the time, when I go to toss a bag of garbage into the dumpster, just as I lift the lid, the squirrel pops out of it, nearly scaring me to death. So I would have screamed death threats at him and given a young sheriff an earful.

    You might wonder why I’m not more prepared for the “squirrel surprise.” Well, sometimes he doesn’t pop out of the dumpster all of the time. His appearances are difficult to predict.

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    1. L. Marie, a squirrel jumping out of a dumpster at me would be a huge surprise and I’m sure I’d say many bad words loudly. You’re a brave woman to be taking out the trash under such circumstances. I wonder if you scare him as much as he scares you?

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    1. Joanne, I’m glad you got a kick out of this. I have to admit that Z-D and I got a real laugh out of this, too. Good point about how the sheriff reported me in his daily log, scared to know the answer to that. 😳

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  22. Well, this story made my day Ally. Zen-Den’s interpretation versus your initial interpretation of a brief foray in the garden in your PJs. Heck, except for the jammies I look like this most days when I bolt out the door to the Park. And … I’m usually chastising myself out loud for running late AGAIN. I am sure I have zero credibility in the ‘hood some days. 🙂

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    1. linda, I really wonder about myself sometimes but I didn’t get what was going on until Z-D explained it to me. Don’t we all run around in goofy clothes figuring no one is paying any attention to us? There might be a lesson in this story, but I’m too bummed about looking old to care about it.

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      1. Ally – I take liberties going outside sometimes. A couple of weeks ago I turned on the furnace for the first time. I have a high-efficiency furnace and I usually check the pipe to ensure there is no debris inside of it before turning the furnace on for the first time in the season. I never thought about it until I was sitting here in the kitchen, at work, in my long sweatshirt with a penguin and candy cane on the front, which comes way past my knees and on my feet were my wool Dearfoam slipper boots with fur inside them. (Hey, it’s just me here and I don’t answer the door to anyone.) I was enjoying the warmth from the heat being on and remembered – oh ya, no CO2 detector! I ran out the front door lickety-split in my outfit, but I did put on shoes … didn’t even stop for a coat and checked the pipe, which of course was free and clear. If the door would have gotten locked somehow I’d have been in big trouble. P.S. – I also have the pineapple-style high ponytail hair all day, but I throw my hair in a bun when it is warm out because I got long layered hair and it keeps it from sticking out when it is humid. 🙂

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        1. Oh that’s funny and soooo believable. I do things around the house and outside of it, never thinking a thing about what I’m wearing. Usually I don’t get caught– and fortunately you didn’t this time.

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          1. I ordered some items from Amazon and was rejoicing as they were all in stock and could come in one shipment, so I only needed to be “dressed up” once to answer the door. We have porch pirates around. I’m ashamed to say, they delivered the order around 11:30 a.m. and I got into my comfortable clothes then. I wonder how I ever worked in constricting pantyhose and regular waistbands, not to mention high-heeled pumps???

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  23. LOL – you’re so funny. Bless your soul for repurposing the teal pitcher. Plants do best when talked to by pineapple topped women dressed in colorful multi-purpose clothing. If there was a tea bag hanging from your headband, it may have been a nice touch. I see nothing wrong with your dedication to plant life while you spout a look to scare away unwelcome visitors. Zen-Den’s alibi covers all the bases if the sheriff had hauled you in for trespassing. Happy weekend to you!

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    1. Shelley, this was one of those situations in which I find myself from time-to-time. I get lost in my head and start on a good project without remembering to check how I’m dressed. Which in this case was rather… oddly. A teabag would have been a nice touch

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      1. LOL – I do the same thing – I’m dressed similarly right now, bright orange running shirt and a very haphazard pony tail. I hope I don’t scare the neighbors – we still don’t have our curtains up. I think creative juices flow better when we’re not dressed stuffy? Right?!

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  24. Ally,
    I think everyone in our neighborhood, including David and me, have heard and seen things coming from one another’s properties…the neighborhood code is to be friendly and mind your own business; which we generally do, unless flashing lights and sirens are involved. Then, all bets are off! I think most of us would pay real money to see videotape of you in your get up, yelling at a squirrelly chipmunk in your yard! Thanks for the laugh today! Totally laughing with you, not at you! So been there and done that (or worse)! 😂🤣😂 Mona

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    1. Mona, I had to write about this incident here because, like you said, we’ve all been there and done that. I blame this entirely on the chipmunk. I’m sure the sheriff’s interest had nothing to do with what I was wearing 😉

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    1. Erica/Erika, I appreciate your smile and your support of my ensemble. You’re right, most of us wear odd combinations of clothes inside our homes, but I’ve learned now not to step out the front door in mine.

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    1. Betsy, I hadn’t thought of that and that’s an excellent point. The sheriff was passing through when he saw me, so no neighbors were involved in this ridiculous escapade. A bright spot in the story

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  25. This was great and so witty. I do have to tell you that IRL, my daughter was instrumental in helping a family find their relative with Alzheimer’s. Flyers were being passed around asking “have you seen this man?” My daughter has a good memory and eye for detail and one day saw a man walking around in a neighborhood and something did not seem right. He was the man featured on the poster. My daughter contacted the police and the man was returned to his family. After that she was inspired to go into law enforcement.

    So yes it happens that law-enforcement officers keep their eye out for such situations!

    I’m glad in your case you were simply a case of mistaken identity 😄👏😄

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    1. Susan, what a great story. I see those flyers around here every once in a while. How cool that your daughter was the person to make the connection. In my case I know who I am and where I belong, but maybe need to up my outside clothes game. Lesson learned

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  26. It’s a good thing that officer didn’t hear any of those death threats you made against that poor, innocent chipmunk. You might have gotten the book thrown at you… especially if the chipmunk didn’t feel intimidated enough to testify in court.

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    1. joey, I’m glad you got a hoot out of my predicament. I won’t go out front dressed in that outfit again, but I will continue to threaten chipmunks. I refuse to let them destroy in peace.

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          1. On a funny note, my parents visit my sister in Seattle once a year, and they don’t even stay with her. The google earth photo shows my father doing something with the bushes in my sisters front yard. How weird is that?

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  27. I feel like Z-D, although a much valued perspective, really Harshed Your Mellow.

    Isn’t it sobering how aging changes things, though? No wonder some older people get so crabby!

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    1. nance, well said. Yes Z-D harshed my mellow with a realistic portrait of me. Sobering, indeed. I resist becoming crabby but I won’t rule it out as a viable option as I age.

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  28. Hysterical scene. (I have the orange pitcher…white top around here somewhere, but relegated for gardening, it’s MIA)
    Hey, if you have chipmunks, that’s probably perfectly normal outfit for the outraged?
    Thanks for the giggles (and note to myself: try to not look like a homeless person in the front yard…)

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    1. philmouse, it was funny in the moment when I thought the sheriff thought I was breaking into our house, but once Z-D explained things to me & I got the whole picture, I had to admit it was hysterical.

      I remember those pitchers came in lots of colors and were cheap. Orange would be a pretty one. Mine is useful in the garden

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